1. Talk about the fall in a sensitive manner Understand their concerns by speaking about the fall – don’t avoid the subject. Listen to their worries to show that you’re taking them seriously.
Together with their input, use these conversations to identify why the fall happened and consider possible solutions to reduce future falls.
Help them see the fall more objectively, not just as an act that has caused anxiety or reduced their independence. Maybe they tripped on a curb, so a walking stick could help give more support in the future.
Perhaps they just felt their muscles or balance give way and would benefit from some simple strength and balance exercises?
2. Set reasonable goals To overcome their loss of confidence, work together to determine an achievable goal to work towards – something small and manageable, which can later be built upon.
This might be “I want to walk a circle around the entire garden on my own in 6 weeks” or “I want to firmly hold the handrail and walk steadily down these stairs in three weeks”.
3. Use measurable targets Work together to set smaller targets which lead to the end goal.
Taking the above example of walking around the garden, help them plan what would be needed to achieve this goal.
For example, how far would they need to walk each week and who will help support them and prevent any falls while they’re in “training” and need help with balance?
4. Evaluate When the goal date arrives, evaluate their progress.
How did they do? Did they achieve the goal?
If they didn’t reach their goal, what prevented that from happening and what did they achieve instead?
Encouragement is essential, so remember to recognize your older adult’s hard work and accomplishments and show your ongoing support.